HOW I COACH
mY experience and training
I bring to coaching extensive experience in business, teaching, and spiritual and emotional support, augmented by formal training as a coach.
I have been CEO of three US companies: from raw start-up to $100 million in sales and 1100 employees: product and service companies, with and without international subsidiaries, public and private, hi-tech and no-tech, successful companies and turnarounds. I started three businesses in West Africa , and managed a Spanish charter airline. I was responsible for strategy, acquisitions and divestments in a New York Stock Exchange-listed company with over 50 businesses in two dozen countries, and have hard-to-find, analytical skills in strategy development that I teach and write about. I’ve lead major culture change in the companies I’ve run. My academic education includes a mechanical engineering degree from MIT and a MBA from Harvard.
Balancing all of that linear, bottom-line oriented background is experience as a facilitator for groups dealing with life-threatening illnesses and bereavement. Plus, I am an active meditation instructor and teacher and have held leadership positions in a Tibetan Buddhist.
I have two grown daughters, two grandchildren—a girl and a boy—and am in a long-term committed relationship.
My coach training is principally from Coach University , one of the largest and oldest coaching schools, which is fully accredited by the International Coaching Federation, and have specialized training from Successful Professionals, Inc., in assisting professionals in growing their billings and reducing their time at work so they can have more balanced and fulfilling lives.
Perhaps most important: I have personally experienced both great success and disappointment, and all of their consequences.
I bring all of that to my coaching practice—except the parenting(!). I use only what is appropriate to the client’s situation.
How does my Buddhism work with non-Buddhist Clients? I respect and honor fully the spiritual beliefs and path (including no path and no interest) followed by everyone I encounter—clients included.
I am very comfortable working with people of all faiths, from strictly observant Christians, Muslims and Jews to agnostics and those with no spiritual path at all. The overwhelming majority of my clients would never consider Buddhism for themselves. I support my clients in following any path they’re on, so long as it is not aimed at hurting anyone.
I bring those perspectives to my coaching. I encourage development of mindfulness and awareness as a way of understanding what is going on and seeing what to do. Contrary to popular belief and as shocking as that may seem to some, meditation is not a spiritual practice. Though spiritual experiences may occur during meditation, meditation is more about training the mind to stay where we put it and to develop awareness of when our mind wanders from the present. I give meditation instruction to anyone who asks, always without charge. (Yes, over the phone.) I seldom suggest it, and never without permission.
So, the short answer is that my Buddhist practice gives me some stability of mind which my clients and I (and everyone I know—especially my family!) find useful. It never gets in the way.
the qualities of mY coaching and approach
I’m often asked how I’m different from other coaches. I can only speak to my qualities and approaches. That being said, I can say that most coaches share with me the focus on the client and his or her agenda, the ability and willingness to talk straight, to ignore nothing, to be unconditionally supportive, to listen completely, and to honor confidentiality. You should be able to count on all of those qualities in any coach. Beyond those qualities, each of us has our own unique style and approach.
My qualities and approach also include the following:
For all clients. Developing self-awareness as a basis of being able to make good choices and manage themselves. For business and professional clients, building a strong, profitable foundation for the business based on solid strategic principles. For all, self awareness. Self awareness is essential for self management. I give a lot of attention to developing a client’s awareness about what is going on in his or her mind that keeps them from being their best—their idea of best, not someone else’s idea of what their best is. That means developing awareness of habits and emotions that are obstacles to taking the actions that will move them ahead—which is why I wrote Act from Choice: Simple tools for managing your habits, your emotions and yourself, to be how you mean to be.
Much of our behavior, resistance, denial, shutting down, and lashing out, for example, is habitual. Those habits are often formed by our natural instinct to avoid discomfort—discomfort caused by fear, shame, a sense that we’re-not-enough, that we won’t like the answer if we ask the question, and so on. Our habits are often so old and so ingrained that we’re not even aware of them: We’re confronted by something that might lead to discomfort, and without even realizing it the habit is triggered and we try to escape. Frying pans and fire!
Many of us have also experienced being taken over by strong emotions. The trick at those times is to be aware that we are not our emotions, and to 1) develop the ability to see the emotions as not being us, and 2) learn to not act out when we experience them, whether they are anger, jealousy, pride, shame, inappropriate lust, whatever.
So I work with my clients to develop the ability to see themselves before the habits kick in or the emotions take over. I give clients a variety of techniques for self observation in daily life. These techniques strengthen our natural awareness so that we can see habits and emotions before they take over, giving us the opportunity to choose to do something different. I also offer initial and on-going instruction in formal meditation, when asked, though I don’t rely on that as my main, or even a necessary approach to building awareness.
Formal initial and on-going meditation instruction is available to anyone at no charge, client or not. Beyond developing awareness of emotions and habits, I help clients act in the face of discomfort, resistance and negative emotions. A therapist works on healing the root cause of habits and emotions. I am not a therapist. I am not competent or licensed to do therapy, and I don’t do it. My approach is to work with what is. As my clients develop self awareness, I help them act in the face of their resistance and fears, to try something different, to make conscious choices to act in the best interests of themselves, their aspirations and their goals.
For Businesses. I have operating and consulting experience in a broad range of product and service industries. This experience and the analytical techniques referred to in the background and experience section of this page give me the ability to relate quickly to new business situations, and therefore, to my clients’ specific interests.
I pass those techniques on to my clients when appropriate and useful. Clients find the techniques give them the ability to judge and design their plans and business models with more objectivity than might otherwise be possible. In passing on these observations and techniques I act as coach, not as consultant. It is always up to the client to apply them, to judge what comes from them, and to apply the resulting insights, or not, as they choose.
How i Work
Clients and I meet usually weekly, sometimes two to three times a month, usually for 40 minutes or an hour
Clients bring their agenda to the meeting. We discuss successes, opportunities, problems and blocks right then. I act as listener, collaborator, partner, mentor, advisor and sounding board, depending on what the client feels he or she needs. When clients are taking on a large goal, I’ll help them design the project and give them the support and structure needed to make sure it gets done.
Sometimes clients make commitments for delivery on the next call or sooner, but coaching is not just about tracking actions or promises. Much of coaching is about provocative conversations that push the horizon we’ve been working on. These conversations help clients tap into and discover strengths, motivations and insights they may not have recognized previously. Often the client’s recognition of strengths and motivations uncovered in these conversations lead to radically expanded goals and achievements, extending into many areas of their lives.
It’s my job to bring out the client’s best by expecting a lot, by offering my business experience to the extent it’s relevant to his or her situation, helping him or her strategize, and then celebrating the wins.
Almost all of my coaching is done over the phone. Phone is an exceptionally good medium for coaching, and my clients seem to prefer it.
Sight dominates our normal awareness. It’s said that our awareness is 70 percent visual, 20 percent hearing and 10 percent physical sensations. In-person coaching works well if one is extremely focused, not distracted by the visual and physical environment and gets something important by reading body language. But for most of us, our visual awareness causes us to hook onto our environment and what the other person is doing. We get distracted by whatever comes into our field of vision.
When working by phone, my clients and I are concentrating on what is said and heard, and not said but still heard—the words, moods and emotions—with minimal visual and physical distraction. So, our communication is very focused.
Phone is also convenient and efficient. Clients like meeting by phone without the time and expense of one of us traveling to meet in person, and we are able to meet regardless of where they happen to be—at the office one week, at home the next—even while they’re traveling. All they need is a comfortable place where they can feel they won’t be overheard.
But don’t take my word for it. Call me; see what it’s like, and make your own judgment. In spite of what I’ve said, it’s possible you won’t like it. But, give it a try.
I specialize in business and personal coaching—especially for clients who are finding it difficult to identify or get past the obstacles between them and their goals, or to set high goals and believe they both deserve them and can reach them. And I work with professionals—attorneys, physicians, CPAs , therapists and financial planners, for example—who want to increase their billings, reduce their time at work, renew their excitement about their profession and have a more balanced and fulfilling life. The lists below present a picture of the areas that people often bring to me as their initial area of focus. For corporate executives, small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals, I often work on topics like these:
Defining goals, the strategies to achieve them, and business models that will produce the results clients want.
Improving profitability and cash flow.
Growing (or starting) a business.
Examining alternatives for growth and diversification: What to do and will it work? How to get it done.
Understanding and taking on new responsibilities.
Improving business relationships: above, below and horizontal; with associates, customers, clients, patients, vendors and stakeholders.
Making staff more effective. Getting them behind The Plan.
Learning to communicate effectively with various audiences both ways—getting heard, and hearing.
Designing, effecting, or simply copping with reorganizations, turnarounds and restructuring.
Getting it all done and achieving balance in the rest of life.
For people generally, including those who are identified with a business or profession and those who are not, we work on a diversity of topics, often including these:
Setting goals based on the client’s values, needs and strengths.
Dealing with transitions: success, opportunity, loss, significant change, financial disaster and success.
Finding balance. Simplifying. Identifying and getting past obstacles.
Living by the client’s own values, rather than someone else’s.
Living in integrity.
Dealing with fear and cultivating the bravery needed to do what needs to be done.
What i expect of MY Clients
I ask that clients be serious about their goals and grant our relationship enough space so they can reach their goals quickly. That means they must be willing to tell me what they are thinking and feeling and be willing to listen to what I have to say. Obviously we need to take the time needed to develop the trust a coaching relationship requires.
I ask new clients to make an initial commitment to themselves (not to me) to give us both 90 days of coaching to see whether the relationship can be effective for them.That’s a commitment they are free to break. Clients are always able to stop coaching whenever they choose.
What clients CAN expect from ME
Clients can expect me to be:
Unconditionally constructive. No matter what happens during our call, they can expect me to say only those things which further their life and goals. If they are disturbed, I understand. If they are stuck, I will be patient. When they want to celebrate a victory, I will celebrate it with them.
I will not make them wrong, criticize them, complain to them or gossip about them.
Straightforward. One can be unconditionally constructive and still speak straight. From time to time, I will ask a client to begin, end or modify something. And I will honor his or her right to refuse.
Available. When clients call or email me, I am available. The goal of my coaching practice is client success. There is no other measure of my coaching practice. I support that goal by always being present with my clients and working their agenda, exclusively. My clients are free to call or email me between scheduled calls to celebrate or to handle an emergency. We schedule extra calls when necessary. There is no charge for extra time, within reason.
Coaches don’t gossip. That means that what clients are doing, how they are doing, what they have accomplished, and their personal and business secrets are not discussed or hinted at by me to anyone else. I do not disclose the names of any of my clients without their explicit permission. Nor do I use anything I learn about a client’s affairs for my benefit. I have successfully coached bosses and their subordinates while holding the strictest standards of confidentiality.
From time to time, a person who referred a client to me may ask how he or she is doing. My stock answer is that the client is doing just fine. (Period.)
My confidentiality obligations continue after our coaching relationship ends.
The only exceptions to any of the above are if I am subpoenaed by a court of law, or the client tells me they have committed a felony that I must report.
OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW
I ask prospective clients to call me for a free, no-obligation call, during which we learn about each other, talk about their coaching agenda and get a sense of how it would be to work together. We take as much time as we need.
By the end of the
Fees are due on the first of each month. Both the client and I are free to terminate the relationship at any time, though my confidentiality obligations survive the relationship.